The Canadiens (25-8-5) wrap up their 3-game homestand Tuesday night when they host the Capitals (20-17-2). The game is set to start at 7:30 and can be seen on RDS and TSN-Habs.
This is the second of three meetings between the Habs and Caps this season. The Canadiens already beat the Capitals 4-1 in Washington at the beginning of the season. Andrei Markov picked up a goal and an assist on the power play while Max Pacioretty and Rafael Diaz both picked up a pair of assists as the Habs scored 4 goals in the second period.
What to Watch:
PK Subban’s inspired play continued Saturday against the Bruins, he picked assists on both of Montreal’s goals in the 2-1 victory of the Bruins. Subban has 10 points in his last 6 games and is +7 over that span. Nathan Beaulieu has been recalled by the Canadiens in the wake of Alexei Emelin’s injury. In his first two games up with the big club, Beaulieu picked up an assist and had a +2 rating.
The Habs will have their hands full with Alex Ovechin and Nicklas Backstrom on Tuesday. Ovi is now tied for the lead in goals with 25 on the season and was the NHL’s first star last week. He has goals in 11 out of the last 14 games scoring 16 of the 25 he has on the season during that span, he also picked up the shootout winner in one of the three games that he was held goalless. Backstrom has been just as hot lately, he has a 6-game point streak going with a goal and 10 assists during that time.
What’s at Stake:
The Canadiens are closing in on a playoff berth, they’re just four points shy of punching their playoff ticket. The Habs are clinging to a one point division lead over the Bruins, both teams have 10 games left to play making it an all out sprint to the finish.
Even though the Capitals are 13 points behind the Habs, they’re also top spot in their own division. Since catching fire and winning 8 of their last 10, the Caps have leapfrogged the Winnipeg Jets, leading the Southeast by two points.
Alexei Emelin (torn ligament – knee) is likely out for the rest of the season, which is bad news for the Habs. Emelin leads the team in hits with 110, Brandon Prust is next on the list with 68. The good news for Montreal is that Rene Bourque should be returning from a concussion for Tuesday’s game, but that still leaves Rafael Diaz (concussion) and Colby Armstrong (knee) on the sidelines.
The Caps are missing Tom Poti (back), new addition Martin Erat (undisclosed) may be out as well.
The Canadiens have been dominant against Southeast division teams this season, they’ve won 11 of 11 games against the five Southeast teams. Montreal has outscored their Southeast opponents 40-17 this season scoring four or more goals in 9 games including a 4-3 shootout victory over the Lightning. Their perfect play against the Southeast division accounts for 22 of their 55 points this year, exactly 40 percent.
The Question Mark:
The Montreal hockey talk pregame question is: Who do you think will go further in the playoffs, the Habs or the Caps?
Let us know what you think by sending us a tweet with the #MTLHockey hashtag, or leave a comment below.
Be sure to tune into the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show an hour before the puck drop and the Post Game Show 5 minutes after the final siren. Join the live conversation by using the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.